2018 - Ongoing
Together / Alone--Under Suburban Sky is intrinsically tied to my experience moving to the U.S. at the age 40 from Shanghai,China. Life is drama. For this project, I dressed up as an ordinary suburban housewife to show scenes of daily life. I made some images like film footage by using long exposures and 16:9 ratio. The inclusion of dialogue gave an understanding of the tension between family members. Each picture depicts a dramatic conflict. The male, as husband and father, was sometimes physically absent from the images, but actually, he is never fully absent, as he always shows up as a symbol. The main actress, as mother and wife, appears in most of the images, however, she is never fully shown. The mother is not just herself; she represents all females in the same situation.
For the past two years, this project has been the primary source material in creating a body of work that explores the migrant narrative and my suburban housewife experience, albeit through a personal lens. Photography is an effective way to depict real scenes in life and can challenge norms of female sexuality, beauty, domesticity, and identity. While my need to decipher and address my own life is personal, my work has always touched upon universal themes, with the potential to start a dialogue about cultural differences and similarities.
The suburban life is very peaceful. It represents middle-class lifestyle, with a comfortable house, two or three kids, and a hardworking husband. They are living together; however, she feels lonely. In Betty Friedan’s words, the problem has no name.